Slow Cooker Brussels Sprouts topped with balsamic glaze and Parmesan cheese are the perfect holiday side dish to make without taking up any oven space.
These easy Crockpot Brussels Sprouts come out perfectly tender with the most delicious flavor from a combination of Dijon mustard, olive oil, and garlic. Then they are finished with balsamic glaze, Parmesan cheese, and fresh lemon juice.
So good, so easy, and they are the perfect way to free up oven space when cooking a holiday meal.
Although I love Brussels sprouts and make them any chance I get (just look at these Balsamic Brussels Sprouts, Crispy Asian Brussels Sprouts, and Shaved Brussel Sprouts Salad if you weren't sure), sometimes I find it hard to find space in the oven to make roasted Brussels sprouts for holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have cooked them in a cast iron skillet in the past, but it just means another dish I have to actively prepare and carefully watch on the stove.
Then I decided to try cooking them in the slow cooker. To be honest, I was very skeptical about the texture. I was prepared for mushy, soggy sprouts. But you can actually make really delicious brussels sprouts right in the slow cooker. They aren't quite as crispy as roasted sprouts but they are really good. Plus you can always broil them right before serving if you miss the crispy edges.
Why We Love Slow Cooker Brussel Sprouts
- Frees up oven space: Don't worry about trying to fit another thing in the oven, these cook in under 2 hours in the slow cooker.
- Hands-off preparation: Don't worry about flipping, sauteing, or constantly monitoring these sprouts. All you need to do is chop the sprouts and dump them in the slow cooker.
- Easy to customize: There are lots of ways to customize this recipe. Change out the seasoning, add fresh herbs or spices, and try different cheeses. We've got lots of options below.
Trust me, I'm a veggie snob and can't eat anything remotely soggy. Give these Brussels sprouts a try— they're covered in garlic, parmesan, balsamic, and Dijon, that's a can't-lose combo right there!
Ingredients and Easy Swaps
- Fresh brussels sprouts: Fresh raw sprouts are best for making in the crockpot. Look for small to medium-sized sprouts that are bright green with tight leaves.
- Dijon mustard: Use dijon mustard, stone ground mustard, or whole grain mustard. Do not swap in yellow mustard. The mustard is very subtle in the final product, it just kicks up the flavor.
- Olive oil: The olive oil helps the sprouts to cook evenly and will help some of the sprouts on the bottom to brown slightly. I do not recommend cooking these without any fat.
- Garlic: Garlic adds a nice flavor to the dish without overpowering the sprouts. Fresh garlic is best but minced garlic also works. Feel free to add some chopped shallots or red onion as well.
- Parmesan cheese: This is totally optional but adds so much flavor. Freshly grated has the best flavor but grated or shredded can also work.
- Balsamic glaze: Another optional, but very delicious addition. If you swap in regular balsamic vinegar, just drizzle a little over the top.
How do you clean Brussels Sprouts?
I don't give cleaning my Brussels sprouts too much work. I typically pour them all into a colander, rinse and give them a few shakes. Then trim the bottom off of each sprout and then cut them in half, making sure to remove any outer leaves that are wilted or yellowing. That's it.
I might cut the sprout into quarters if I encounter a rather large one. You want them to all be roughly the same size cut.
Tips for Crockpot Brussels Sprouts
- Fresh Brussels sprouts are best: I recommend using fresh Brussels sprouts in this dish. If you want to try frozen, they will come out more like boiled sprouts since they have more moisture. Defrosting them first and removing as much moisture as possible will help, but the texture will still be softer.
- Finishing touches: The balsamic glaze is totally optional, but I have found it adds the perfect amount of tart and tang to the sprouts. It provides a punch of flavor with parmesan cheese and dijon mustard.
- Don't overcook the sprouts: Although this recipe is hands-off, it is important not to overcook the Brussels sprouts. They will get soft and soggy if cooked too long.
- Find time to broil: Taking the extra 3 -5 minutes to broil these at the end makes a big difference if you love those browned, crispy edges.
Recipe ideas for Slow Cooker Brussels Sprouts
- Add crunch: Finish the dish with something crunchy like sliced almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or toasted breadcrumbs to get some of the texture you might be missing.
- Change up the cheese: Try this recipe with goat cheese, feta cheese, or gorgonzola. These three kinds of cheese work really well with dried fruit.
- Add fruit: Add some sweetness with dried cranberries, dried cherries, or pomegranate arils.
- Change the glaze: Instead of using balsamic glaze, you could finish this dish with any other glaze of vinaigrette.
- Add fresh herbs: Brighten up the dish with some fresh thyme, rosemary, chives, or parsley.
- Finish with butter: If you want a richer dish drizzle the sprouts with melted butter before serving.
- Make them creamy: Many people like to add heavy cream (about 1/2 cup) and lots of Parmesan cheese and black pepper to make creamy brussels sprouts. Leave out the balsamic glaze and maple syrup fro this prep.
- Add bacon: Top the cooked sprouts with some crispy bacon or pancetta. For a special holiday meal, drizzle the bacon grease on top as well.
Main Dishes to Serve with Brussels Sprouts
This vegetable side dish works with so many dishes. Here are some favorites:
- Holiday meals: These work great with roasted turkey, spiral ham, beef tenderloin, pork roast, or this slow cooker turkey tenderloin.
- Easy Chicken and Veggies: Pair these with Honey Mustard Chicken, Brown Sugar Chicken Breasts, or Chicken Cordon Bleu.
- Grain bowls: Meal prep easy grain bowls with cooked quinoa, slow cooker sprouts, and shredded rotisserie chicken. Serve with balsamic dressing or even cranberry sauce.
How do you make homemade balsamic glaze?
I make a very simple balsamic glaze by simply reducing balsamic vinegar in a saucepan until it gets thick and syrupy. The recipe I follow is:
- Add as much balsamic as you like into a saucepan (I like to do about 2 cups so I have leftover glaze for other dishes).
- Turn on the burner heat to about medium.
- Bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the balsamic simmer for a while (up to 30 minutes), until it reduces by about half and gets thicker. (To test for thickness, it should coat the back of a spoon when you lift it out of the vinegar.)
- Take it off the heat and allow it to cool, then drizzle over cooked Brussels sprouts or any roasted veggie you like
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making brussels sprouts in the slow cooker.
You do not need to add any liquid or water! In fact, adding liquid will make the brussels sprouts turn out soggy. The sprouts release moisture as they cook and that is enough for the recipe.
Always let the brussels sprouts come to room temperature before strong them in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat them on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 6-10 minutes until heated through.
Slow Cooker Brussel Sprouts
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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